Somali Pirates Wont Quit as Attacks Double from 2008

Pirates use captured Indian dhow to attack VLCC.

Somali pirates have abandoned an Indian ship after using it to attack an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden. The EU said the pirates hijacked an Indian dhow earlier in the week and left its 14 member crew unharmed, but used the vessel to attack a 264,758 DWT VLCC operated by VShips.

A French naval helicopter intervened to stop the hijacking of the “A ELEPHANT” by Somali pirates in the western part of the Gulf of Aden. The EU said a mother-ship and two skiffs approached the tanker several times and opened fire. The ship’s crew successfully avoided being boarded. The French helicopter from the warship ACONIT arrived quickly on scene after a distress call.

There were no casualties and only light damage to the vessel, which was registered with the Maritime Security Centre, Horn of Africa.

PIRACY ATTACKS DOUBLE

PIRACY attacks around the world have more than doubled in the first six months of 2009 versus the same period in 2008. Attack jumped from 240 from 114 over last year says the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB).

As in the last quarterly report, the rise in overall numbers is due almost entirely to increased Somali pirate activity off the Gulf of Aden and east coast of Somalia, with 86 and 44 incidents reported respectively, the report said. The year’s second quarter saw 136 reports of piracy compared with 104 in the first three months of 2009, an increase of almost a third.

A total of 78 vessels were boarded worldwide, 75 vessels fired upon and 31 vessels hijacked with some 561 crew taken hostage, 19 injured, seven kidnapped, six killed and eight missing. The attackers were heavily armed with guns and knives in the majority of incidents. “Violence against crew members continues to increase,” the report concluded.